In this week’s Entrepreneur Feature, we spoke with Jason Lim and Vincent Lim who are co-founders of Stendard, a start-up at BLOCK71 Singapore. Stendard is a cloud-based platform that makes it easier for companies to meet international regulations before products are approved for commercialisation. This work is usually manual and very time-consuming. Stendard helps businesses achieve compliance in a fast, convenient, scalable and affordable manner, starting with the medical device industry.
1. What are the benefits of being part of the BLOCK71 ecosystem?
First of all, we have all the like-minded people housed in the same location! The ecosystem is very vibrant and we can easily connect with people from various backgrounds — start-ups, incubators, investors, government agencies, etc. It makes things so much more convenient. No wonder BLOCK71 has become a brand on its own. This is like the Olympic Village, where all the sportsmen come together, and it just spurs you forward when you have the opportunity to interact and learn from the best!
2. Who is your greatest source of inspiration and why?
Our parents. Vincent and I are brothers, and since young we have always been given the opportunity to choose the path we walk. They have taken up the role of a mentor — not telling us how to do things (although they can), but really allowing us to make our own decisions by ourselves. We have met with obstacles and failures, but they have always been encouraging in their own ways. At times when we have a bad day, we can be sure to return home to a home-cooked meal prepared by Mum. Our Dad, who is a business owner himself, also shares his problems and relates it back to our discussion — always encouraging us to overcome and persist!
Now that we are both running a startup, the stakes are definitely high. But it has been 3 years and they are still very supportive!
3. The team is one of the most important factors for a startup. How did you build your team?
We had an advantage from the start because the relationship between the founders has been more than 20 years and counting (since we’re siblings). But when it comes to the rest of the team members who joined us along the way, we have always believe that communication and integrity are the key virtues that we build into the foundation of the company and our team.
While hiring can be a challenging process for the inexperienced founders (i.e., we question our decisions and selection of team members all the time), we have always prioritised picking members whom we can communicate with well. On top of that, we put a lot of effort in making sure that the entire team has a strong sense of integrity for the company and products that we build.
We believe that this approach translates into trust — towards one another, and towards the company and products.
4. Where did your entrepreneurial journey start?
It all started at home! Vincent and I were discussing our corporate lives and how things will be in the next five, ten, twenty years’ time, and how we didn’t want to be stuck in the rat race that we were in. We started to explore the idea of running our own business together, but had our own ideas as well. That’s why we started our business in 2014 as a company working on medical device consultancy in one arm and the other as 3D laser scanning services, before we founded Stendard. When the idea of Stendard came about, we fell in love with it immediately. In the subsequent months, we started creating capable teams to continue running the existing businesses and committed our full focus on Stendard!
5. Share with us your worst nightmare when you initially started out!
Trying to find our first customers! We were constantly posed with difficult questions about the product and deal with doubts about whether we could survive the next few years. We had to create a portfolio of bigger companies to showcase and, of course, deal with many discouraging questions from clients. These questions are pretty standard, but are definitely tough to answer for anyone who has just started out. We had to gain precious trust from our early customers, show them our sincerity and always do our best to deliver stuff above their expectations.
However, we realised that these questions and feelings do not go away with time! As the start-up grew, other uncomfortable scenarios started to come up, and then there is this epiphanic moment when we realised that this constant discomfort is here to stay. So if you ask me, it’s a good problem to feel this way! We just have to continually embrace this uncertainty and stay uncomfortable with ourselves. This way, you know you are pushing boundaries and growing exponentially.
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